View Full Version : Freeganism

09-20-2005, 03:59 AM
Hungry, anyone?

Freeganism is the practice of minimising one's impact on the environment by means of consuming food that has been or is about to be thrown away by someone else (e.g., supermarkets). A freegan may obtain the food by asking a retailer for what is to be discarded or by taking it from waste bins, a practice known colloquially as "dumpster diving".

Acting this way, a freegan has no responsibility for the material and energy resources used in the production process, since the goods have already exited the production-consumption cycle where money is used in exchange for goods.

However, critics of freeganism say that eating trash will not help the environment very much, and that there are better ways to help, such as recycling and using alternative energy. Furthermore, they argue that freeganism is simply not a healthy lifestyle for someone, depending on the types of discarded food that are eaten.

In many developed countries, the quality demands and hygiene standards of consumers are high enough that many foods stay edible for a period of time after their expiry or "best before" dates. In temperate climates, the best seasons for freeganism are autumn and winter, when waste bins remain at refrigerator temperatures.

Freeganism in itself does not mean a person is following a certain kind of dietary behaviour, though it is common that freegans practice vegetarianism or veganism, possibly for practical reasons as well as moral/philosophical; as discarded meat becomes inedible faster than vegetable matter.

Many people exerting this practice have been forced into it simply by lacking the income necessary to purchase food normally, rather than making a conscious decision to sustain themselves by scavenging when other choices are available.

Freeganism is also used to describe people who will pay for vegan food, but will eat non-vegan food if they can get it for free. Unlike the above, these people do not necessarily eat food that was already thrown away, but rather they eat non-vegan food that is offered to them, or that would otherwise be thrown away. However, they may often have the same motives, or they may simply be acquiescing to their friends', relatives', or coworkers' attempts to feed them non-vegan food.

There are some who use the word "freegan" to describe a lifestyle where one only eats food one has acquired for free (by dumpstering or stealing or being given it).

Vegans often argue that many self described freegans do not strictly follow the rule of only eating animal products that would otherwise go to waste. Violations of that freegan principle could range from bumming food off of friends to even buying non-vegan food because it's cheaper. Therefore, the vegan critics argue, "freeganism" for many is more a label or pretension than a principled diet which is actually followed. Some freegans counter that there are also a good number of self-described vegans who are less than dilligent in following the rules of their diet.

It should be noted that many vegans and vegetarians do not accept freeganism because they see it as either a joke or parody of veganism. Furthermore, freeganism is largely limited to young white middle and upper-middle class people in economically developed countries.

Slang: "Freegan" is also used as a derogatory slang word for a cheap person who mooches off of others, in a fashion that has nothing to do with the intended meaning of freeganism.



09-20-2005, 05:14 AM
I've often theorized that if we gradually accustomed ourselves to eating rotten food, so we wouldn't get sick, we could eventually become carrion eaters. Say, we'd start be drinking the milk that is 1-2 days past its date. Then we'd eat the rotting salad in the back of the fridge that we forgot about. Then we'd progress to eating something from the garbage can. Then we could eat really rotten dead possums off the road.

09-20-2005, 08:11 AM
I knew a whole community who existed this way. They were avid followers of the "Rainbow Gathering". They were 5 or 6 families who squatted on federal reserve land in south central Oregon and you had to drive some pretty hairy logging roads to find their little paradise, which was a high mountain meadow with a freshwater creek running through. Every week one of the families would drive to the nearest large urban center and go dumpster diving at the big supermarkets. They came home with produce that was easily picked through for good pieces, whole flats of dairy products and prepackaged meats and other goods that were one day past their "best before dates". When recycling became popular, they would go early in the morning and one brigade would cruise the streets with the recylce boxes and pick out all ther eturnable bottle, to get gas money. They hit the good will stores before they opened, because people often left furniture outside the doors at night. They cruised demoilktion sites for material to recycle into their houses. The houses were heated with passive solar power from attached sunrooms and greenhouses and with woodstoves for the really cold days. They also did crafts during the winter which they sold at the weekend farmers markets during the summer, and grew berries, apples, garlic, corn and other vegetables. They had horses they free ranged in the reserve land. Some of them had spent time in mental hospitals and prisons but, I gotta say, a nicer group of people you wouldn't meet anywhere. They were attentive to hygeine and health and took good care of each other and their families. The ages ranged from infants to advanced 70's.

They all collected government subsidies. They had computers and satallite dishes and radio telephones paid for with that money since they really paid no rent and little for food and clothes.

I see nothing wrong with living this way. I haven't visited them for more than 10 years and wonder if I could still find the place and if they are still there.

Lyn Is Snide
09-20-2005, 08:24 AM
Then we'd progress to eating something from the garbage can. Then we could eat really rotten dead possums off the road.
:wtf :rofl

09-20-2005, 08:44 AM
Well, it is such a shame to let the dead possums go to waste, ya know.


We have Rainbow people here too. They don't get welfare because they don't stay and they don't have addresses here. They have a gathering near here once a year, though. And they sure do beg for food and money.